By Inside Archery Staff
Mid-summer can prove a slow period for archery retailers. Many customers neglect their equipment and shoot only minimally because they are distracted by other activities like fishing, various watersports or family vacations, or simply keeping abreast of the annual upkeep of property and landscaping.
Consider sparking continued bowhunting interest, equipment sales and general shop traffic by hosting a bowfishing or bowhunting contest. Off-season game varies by region, of course, but many shop owners are lucky enough to be located in prime bowfishing or wild hog country, two quarries that generally carry minimal regulations and liberal season in most regions where such opportunities are found.
Bowfishing is the most obvious summertime archery activity. Drive interest and additional equipment sales by organizing a bowfishing contest. Like fall big-buck contests, you can host a big-carp (or bowfin, or buffalofish, or gar, according to local availability) contest for a minimal investment of time and resources. All that is needed is an announcement placard, signup sheet and an accurate digital scale. Create a sign-up sheet and start a cash kitty with entry fees, say a $10 to $20 buy-in, participants then bringing in their biggest fish for recording. Each time a participant brings in a potential winner a photo can be shot and hung on the shop bulletin board, with shooter name and fish weight posted below. This alone should help spark new or renewed bowfishing interest.
Get creative. Maybe a straight-forward heaviest weight is recorded, or maybe something more involved like a combination of weight in ounces, and length and largest girth in inches as a final score. You might offer a small but desirable prize for the smallest fish, like a shop-logoed hat or T-shirt. After a designated period a winner is announced and the pot awarded, either winner take all, or percentages for 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place fish.
If you want to get even more involved, consider hosting a mid-summer bowfishing tournament, signing up individuals or two-person teams for a weekend shoot. This requires more cometment
If your shop is located in wild hog country, a Boss Hog contest might also fit well into this program, driving genuine big-game interest during the off season. This obviously requires a heftier scale and a large tree, rear porch or gambrels to hang it from, but can really stir up some off-season bowhunting excitement. Heaviest overall weight is an obvious goal, but perhaps a combination of tusk length and/or skull score (using Pope & Young bear-scoring procedures, no drying period) would make things more interesting.
Archers enjoy competition and nothing sparks off-season interest like the potential to be crowned the bowfishing or hog-hunting king and win a few bucks on the side!